Virgin Media to launch four HD channels

Virgin Media to launch more HD channels
Virgin Media to launch more HD channels

Virgin Media has announced that it is to launch up to four new HD channels in the coming months.

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett spoke about the new channels at today's press unveiling of the company's 50Mb broadband package, saying: "Up until fairly recently getting access to HD was problematic.

"There was another provider in the UK that you might have heard of [BSkyB] that locked the HD content away for a period of time...

"This changed recently and a lot of non-platform suppliers have started to make HD available, so it is now a commercial decision that we have made."

Veruca Salt package

When pressed on the timeframe of these launches, Berkett revealed that "you'll see over the next three or four months us launching three or four more HD channels," and explained that VoD will play a big part in the company's HD package.

"You'll see us exploit our advantage in Video on Demand," said Berkett. "I refer to it often as the Veruca Salt package: 'I want it and I want it now' and that will impact more heavily in terms of HD."

Ofcom investigation

One of the main reasons Virgin Media is relying on its VoD content, is because of an on-going Ofcom investigation into HD broadcasting.

Berkett explains: "Until a certain point in time Ofcom are in the middle of a market investigation where they have deemed that a premium pay TV market is flawed and they have some remedies that they are imposing on that space.

"Importantly, their definition of that market is premium sport, premium movies and high definition.

"So, again our position over the last 18 months is that rather than work against our capital there are regulatory changes that need to happen to give broader access to HD and in the meantime we'll take whatever advantage we can commercially with our on-demand applications."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.